Ten-time NBA All-Star, Kevin Durant, will not return to the Brooklyn Nets this season, no matter when the NBA resumes. Durant recovered from coronavirus, but he is still yet to fully recover from a torn Achilles.
Durant became one of four members of the Nets who became infected with COVID-19. Durant wasn’t seriously ill, but remained in quarantine for several weeks until he recovered. He hasn’t played a game with the Nets this season while he rehabbed his Achilles.
Durant blew out his Achilles while playing for the Golden State Warriors against the Toronto Raptors during the 2019 NBA Finals. He rushed back after a calf injury earlier in the postseason. Once the Warriors lost Durant, they were dunzo against the red-hot Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors. The Raptors spoiled a three-peat, and Durant bounced in free agency.
Durant won two NBA titles with Golden State in 2017 and 2018. He won the NBA Finals MVP in both instances as well.
Wait Until Next Year
Achilles injuries, on average, take more than a full season to heal. In the pre-pandemic world, it would have been a stretch if Durant would have recovered in time to join the Nets’ postseason roster.
But with a couple of extra months to heal, fans wondered if Durant could suit up and return in time for the tip-off of the NBA playoffs.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski dispelled any whispers coming out of Bed-Stuy, Park Slope, and Red Hook.
“Kevin Durant is not coming back to the Nets this year,” Wojnarowski said on ‘The Woj’ podcast. “That’s not happening if they play. They’re not playing him.”
“He knows his body better than anybody,” said Nets general manager, Sean Marks. “Our performance team and training staff have done a tremendous job getting him to this point, but I just don’t know how coming out of this pandemic will affect anybody, let alone Kevin.”
The NBA season is still up in the air, but many options have been discussed regarding how to finish the remainder of the season (approximately 20% remaining) and the postseason. OG suggested a couple of wacky ideas for the playoffs like a March Madness-inspired tournament, or a best-of-nine NBA Finals.
The NFL recently released a complete 2020 schedule and hopes it can start on time. But if it doesn’t, officials front-loaded the season with non-conference and non-division games just in case those dates need to be sacrificed or postponed.
MLB will resume in July with a reduced schedule of 80 games if all goes according to plan. There’s no word on what the NHL intends to do, but since many NHL teams play in the same arena as NBA teams, it makes sense the NHL will follow a similar path to the one the NBA undertakes.
KD Brooklyn Jinx?
Durant signed a lucrative deal (4 years, $164 million) with the Brooklyn Nets last summer. All signs indicated he was headed to New York City to play for the Knicks after a short stint in the Bay Area with the Warriors. It was an open secret that Durant and Kyrie Irving would team up together as free agents. However, both stars snubbed the Knicks in favor of the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nets were destined for a playoff spot, but they fired their head coach just before the pandemic shuttered the NBA. The Nets gave Kenny Atkinson the pink slip despite the fact they were headed to the postseason without Durant playing a single game and Irving missing the majority of the season with a shoulder injury. Irving attempted to rest his shoulder, but the impingement never improved. In February, Irving opted for season-ending surgery after suiting up for only 20 (out of 53) games.
According to the latest NBA rumor mill, the Nets are interested in hiring Tom Thibodeau (former Minnesota Timberwolves skipper) as their new head coach.
Even though Durant sat out the entire season, he still resided in Brooklyn. He also traveled with the team during road games and sat on the bench during all games. Despite not playing, Durant still tested positive for coronavirus less than one week after the NBA shut down the league when Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz) became the first player to test positive for COVID-19.